I have been harping on this for years now… Pay attention to your surroundings when you’re out on your run! (Or walk, or bike ride, or if you’re a high school kid walking across the street in front of parents who are picking their kids up from a nearby school and you just drift across streets without ever looking up from your phone while wearing giant headphones…) From recently talking about it…
… to years back when talking about my time coaching Team Challenge and how runners would be completely unaware of us coaches running up to talk with them until we’re right in their face. It really bothers me to see people being so cavalier about their own wellbeing.
So when Panasonic reached out to me to test and share their Open-Ear Bone Conduction Headphones and the #OpenYourEars campaign I was very excited. First, I’d never tried an ear-bone conduction headphone (I usually run with a single earbud) and was intrigued to see how it works. Second, obscuring your sense of hearing while running is my pet peeve. If I was a Mrs Running America pageant contestant this may be my platform issue.
I wasted no time in opening the box, pulling out the headphones, plugging them into my iPhone and starting up a song. I heard the song just fine, so I asked my husband, “Can you hear my music?” And he looked at me and said, “It’s all in your head. There’s no music.” He’s a smart aleck. But it’s still kind of strange, to have your ears completely open and hearing the music just fine but nobody else can hear it. I loved that!
So I took the open-ear headphones out on a run. And then another, and another, and another. I really like them, they are quite comfortable and don’t bounce around at all. I have found that when you are listening to a podcast/audiobook/spoken word and a noisy vehicle drives by, you tend to miss some of the words as you really do hear the road noise more. So if that is something that really bothers you, try these anyway and keep your audio that needs close attention for other times!
So how does the ear-bone conduction work? Basically, it transmits sound vibrations directly to the inner ear through your cheekbones. So without covering up any part of your ear canal, you still get the benefit of great sound. And your ears are open to hear cars, cyclists, other people, dogs, etc. that are around you.
They are lightweight and even though they are not adjustable to snug right up against the back of your head, they don’t move when on. They have reflective strips on the sides and back to help increase visibility in night/low-light conditions. They are water/sweat-resistant and can be wiped clean with a damp cloth.
The only complaint I have about them is how long the cord seems, I feel like I could wear a calf strap to hold my phone, plug the headphones in clear down there and it would be fine. Well, that’s an exaggeration… but there is plenty of cord to go around here. Just jam it down your shirt, it will be fine.
Another thing that would be a “nice to have” feature is an inline remote. If I’m going to have all that cord, I might as well be able to control my tunes with it and take calls.
The headphones retail for $79.99.
In addition to the headphones, Panasonic was kind enough to send me a bag of schwag. Some of it is general precautionary things runners might need: GU, BodyGlide, sunscreen. But they also sent some items that are visibility-specific. Reflective headband, light-up armband, bright-reflective waist belt. All of it came bundled in a nice big Land’s End tote. Thank you Panasonic for sending me the headphones and all these goodies.
Panasonic sent me the headphones for free to review, but it was in regard to a need that I feel particularly strong about and all opinions are my own.